5:3:1 Ratio of Racism
Paperback, 148 Pages
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An ‘imaginary autobiography’ set in factual context, 5 : 3 : 1 Ratio of Racism was inspired by a brave Cape Corps soldier who Frank Streek befriended while fighting in the Western Desert during World War 2
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Mar 2, 2011Frank Streek served in the 1st Royal Natal Carbineers during World War 2, fighting against German and Italian forces in North Africa. Early in the campaign he struck up an unlikely rapport with enlisted man and mortar section driver, Jacko Swartz…unlikely because Swartz was Cape Corps and fraternisation across the racial divide was far from commonplace in the South African Defence Force of the day. Streek was profoundly impressed by this Coloured man from a segregated area of Cape Town who, like thousands of other nonwhite South Africans, was a second-class citizen in the land of his birth yet had volunteered to help his ‘masters’ rid the world of Hitler and Mussolini at great risk and for derisory remuneration – while not allowed to carry a rifle because of his classification as a Non-European. It was thus particularly distressing for Frank Streek when in the spring of 1941 he heard that Jacko was numbered among a South African division which had surrendered at Tobruk, but equally... More > uplifting a few months later when he encountered Swartz in the El Alamein lines: “Geen fokken Jerry gaan my vang nie!” declared the Cape Corps private who had actually evaded capture along with another member of his squad and crossed a vast expanse of desert before meeting up with Allied troops. Frank Streek never saw Jacko Swartz again. “You have served your country well…I promise you new homes, new schools and new factories…may you prosper in peace even more than you have prospered in these years of war.” Field Marshal Smuts to a Non-European Army Services (NEAS) end-of-hostilities parade at Garawi, Egypt, July 1945. He often wondered what had become of him, however, particularly on occasions such as immediately after the war when it transpired that Smuts’s above-quoted statement bore no resemblance to the reality which NEAS men faced upon demobilisation. For just as they as they had been at the wrong end of a discriminatory pay-scale for six years while equally putting their lives on hold and in harm’s way, their return home was met with an apportionment of benefits which applied a 5 : 3 : 1 ratio to Whites, Coloureds/Asiatics and Africans, respectively. Hence the title of this book. Post-war, Frank Streek tried unsuccessfully to re-establish contact with Jacko Swartz during a career which saw him retire in 1975 as Chairman and Managing Director of East London’s longest-established newspaper, The Daily Dispatch. The apartheid regime’s increasingly brutal enforcement of its policies again caused Frank to ponder the circumstances which Jacko might be enduring. Because of the Streek family’s anti-apartheid activities, constant harassment by the Special Branch and the Bureau of State Security eventually compelled Frank and his wife Deena to emigrate: they were granted Canadian citizenship during the early 1980s. Frank maintained a keen interest in the political evolution of South Africa. In 2006 he travelled to Cape Town for the funeral of his son, Barry, who was a former Vice President of the National Union of South Africa Students (NUSAS), a prominent journalist and a highly respected pro-democracy activist. While in the city Frank rekindled his search for Jacko Swartz: the District Six Museum and the head of a Coloured ex-servicemen’s association delivered invaluable insights, but a newspaper report detailing Frank’s 60-year-long inquiry led to the discovery which finally put an end to his quest - Jacko had died a few years previously. Upon returning to Canada, Frank Streek embarked on imagining the life that Jacko Swartz might have led before, during and after the war. The outcome of those musings is what follows…a fictional autobiography set in factual context, as Jacko Swartz might have narrated it.< Less
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- Frank Streek (Standard Copyright License)
- Just Done Productions
- March 2, 2011
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 0.61 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
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